IN this week's SME Focus we hear from an athlete who runs a business that successfully developed a new client base following a meltdown in a sector that had provided its bread and butter for decades.

Name: David Lewis.

Age: 41.

What is your business called? LEWIS Creative Consultants.

Where is it based? Edinburgh.

What services does it offer?

LEWIS is a design and digital marketing agency, but what we do changes as quickly as the marketing landscape, so we're continually adapting. The heart of our business is design and we support this with a strong technical skill set. Most of our projects are digital-based - websites, online campaigns, video production, social media campaigns, email marketing, planning and marketing strategy - although we also offer graphic design, brand development and print production.

Clients include ScottishPower, Scottish Provident, Hunter Boot and Santander alongside lots of smaller clients in the product, retail, public sector, leisure, events and finance sectors.

What is its turnover?

The first half of 2014 has shown strong growth with year-on-year turnover up 25 per cent. We are looking to increase turnover in 2014 to around £2 million.

How many employees?

Twenty-seven. We plan to add another three within the next quarter.

When was it formed?

My father Ray Lewis formed the company in 1973 in the Borders. Having started the business to look after one client (Pringle), he grew it with a focus on design and marketing for the fashion industry.

Our relationship with Pringle spanned 25 years and we've also worked with Burberry, Russell Athletic, Green Lamb and Glenmuir over the years. During this period we had clients in other sectors but the sheer volume of work for the knitwear industry meant the business soon employed 30 staff, sometimes working around the clock to meet demand. My father knew he needed to "make hay when the sun shines" and invested in new technology and digital design skills, at a time when there was no internet and CD-ROMs were seen as ground-breaking.

Why did you take the plunge?

You could say I was born into the business. I was always in the studio as a child, drawing at the parallel motion drawing boards and playing with Letraset. I loved the smell of the studio - spray glue, marker pens, the giant pieces of paper - and was amazed at how the team could start with basic assets and then, as if by magic, produce a beautiful finished brochure.

In 2013 I completed a management buy-out from the shareholders. Funding for the buy-out was raised through vendor-backed financing and personal resources so there was no need for external funders in the process. This is a new era for LEWIS and we are looking forward to growing and exploring new opportunities.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I was MD of the agency, but my background is in graphic design. From errand boy, to graphic designer, digital designer, account manager and then managing director, the variety of clients, projects and challenges has always kept me hungry and keen to progress.

What was your worst moment?

When the Borders' knitwear industry crashed (2000-2004), we went from turning over £2m a year to virtually zero. I can remember sitting in board meetings discussing how we could save £100 here, £50 there, or if we should just turn the lights off forever. In the end we moved everything to Edinburgh and this was the start of a new chapter for LEWIS. It was my father's vision that digital would be the next big thing that saved our business.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I'm very fortunate to work in a creative sector, where our client briefs change all the time. One day we can be working on a campaign for a new bank account, the next we can be updating an e-commerce engine that sells thousands of products every hour, rebranding a charity, promoting a super lawnmower or launching a dating agency. It is a fantastic business to be part of.

What was your biggest break?

In 2002 we were asked to design a small animation for Scottish Provident. Their marketing manager found us in the Yellow Pages and liked our website. I think we invoiced £380 for that piece of work but we continue to work with them today nearly 12 years later. This opportunity opened doors to other finance brands such as Scottish Mutual, James Hay, Cater Allen Private Bank, Aberdeen Asset Management, Santander Wealth Management and Santander for Intermediaries. It raised our profile, gave us confidence and helped us move successfully into other sectors.

What do you least enjoy?

Haggling about money. We always get the money part of the project confirmed and agreed as soon as possible.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

The business has grown organically over the 12 years since I became MD. We have a strong three-year plan in place, which we expect will see us increase our turnover by 25 per cent year-on-year, expand into new office locations and increase our staff and expertise levels. I want LEWIS to continue to be a creative agency and a great place to work. I'm extremely lucky to have a loyal and very talented team.

What are your top priorities?

Our company motto is "We will make you look great". If we haven't achieved this then we have failed. No matter if it's a £500 leaflet, an e-commerce website or a full rebranding.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Scotland has always shown it can be the best in the world at digital and creative innovation. Our attitude should be to enhance and support these growing sectors so we continue to be a major force internationally. As a nation we need to be pushing technology and supporting digital entrepreneurs, and encouraging collaboration with partner organisations, companies and individuals on the world stage - not just next door.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

People deal with people. You'll never get anywhere blurting out buzz words, shouting over people in meetings and flexing your muscles in front of new clients.

How do you relax?

Spending time with my family and my partner Lesley is the priority. Kids make everything right in the world when the only challenge they face is running out of Loom Bands. Personally, I enjoy keeping fit and over the last year I've taken up triathlons, completing the London Triathlon in August.